License agreements and copyright laws prevent Harvard libraries from offering alumni complete access to online resources. There is, however, a large and growing body of resources available to everyone, thanks to library digitization projects, the open access movement, and other efforts.

HKS Library Research Guides

Our 40+ expertly curated Research Guides are freely available online. These guides offer subject-specific resources on topics like:

If a resource listed in our guides doesn't specify "Harvard Login," it is likely freely available online.


Zotero is a free and open-source citation management software that allows you to manage your research materials, create bibliographies, format citations, take notes, and collaborate with others.

You can download Zotero even after graduation, and refer to Harvard Library's online guide for help.

All the content you've added to Zotero before graduation will stay in your account. Any new content you add after your HKS email becomes inactive will be subject to Zotero's 300MB free limit. You can purchase more storage online.

Make sure to change your email!

Your student HKS email account and address will remain active for one year after your status is officially changed to Graduate in Harvard's systems. Before this happens, add a personal email address to your Zotero account so you don't get locked out of your content.

  • Login to Zotero online.

  • Click on your username in the upper right corner, then select "Settings" from the drop-down.

  • Click on the "Account" tab.

  • Under "Add email address," add your personal email address.

  • Once your HKS email becomes inactive, delete that address from this page. Your personal email will become the primary one associated with your Zotero account.

Articles & Books

Many online platforms provide free access to articles, citations, and even full-text books.

If you encounter paywalled content online, these browser extensions will search for free versions.

Policy Research

Think Tank Search

Think Tank Search searches the websites of institutions that generate public policy research, analysis, and activity. These sites are affiliated with universities, governments, advocacy groups, foundations, and non-governmental organizations. Inclusion is based upon the relevancy of subject area to HKS coursework and scholarship, the availability of the think tank’s research in full-text on the website, and the think tank’s reputation and influence upon policy making. The list represents a mixture of partisan and non-partisan think tanks.

Other Policy Resources

Open Source Software

Open source software is distributed with its source code, making it freely available for use. There are open-source alternatives to many of the commercial software tools Harvard licenses.

Adobe Creative Cloud Alternatives

PDF Editing (Adobe Acrobat DC)

Visual Effects & Motion Graphics (Adobe After Effects)

Digital Audio (Adobe Audition)

Vector Graphics (Adobe Illustrator)

Desktop Publishing (Adobe InDesign)

Transcoding (Adobe Media Encoder)

Raster Graphics (Adobe Photoshop)

Video Editing (Adobe Premiere Pro)

ArcGIS Alternative

NVivo Alternatives

NVivo offers a free 14-day trial and 24-month subscriptions, with discounts available for students. Other free and less expensive options include:

Tableau Alternatives

Tableau Desktop offers a free one-year license for students. Other alternatives include:


Text Mining & Natural Language Processing